I was in Chile recently,
in the highest tower in South America. I met a woman who was a bit in love
with the skyscraper. It was because she was so proud
of the economic progress in Chile. This tower proves we can
make a change in Chile. It’s an icon,
an achievement of all of us. Everyone: the greatest and the smallest. You’re in love with this tower.
– Yes. It moves me, because
it’s beautiful and spectacular. It’s ours. There was so much smog… …that I had trouble seeing the mountains
I’d travelled through the weeks before. But in the distance I could spot the
Andes, the spine of this continent. OVER THE BACK OF THE ANDES I’ve learned that you can laugh
about just about anything here. We laughed about the fact that
I only had two kids, instead of seven. About a bottle of rum that wouldn’t open. We laughed cautiously
about the situation in Venezuela… …and even made a joke about death. But what makes South Americans sad? episode 2:
Santiago’s Skyscraper I read that more Chileans suffer from
depression than other South Americans. I was surprised: the Latin Americans
I know rarely talk about depression. Everyone has heartache… …but other feelings
shouldn’t be dwelled upon. I came to Chile to find out
what was going on. Judging by Santiago’s wealth,
this country seems to be doing well. Good morning,
can I get aTercera,please? Chile has the strongest economy
in South America. They’re still at number 35 in the world. But in 30 years’ time it’s gone from being
a poor country to a rich country… …in an extraordinary way. Our economy boomed
in the days of Pinochet. His economic model was explosive. Everything was profit-oriented. Social
welfare and education didn’t count. If you want education and healthcare,
you have to pay a tall price. Did Pinochet do you a favour
by introducing capitalism? Who?
– Pinochet. By killing people? What sort of a favour is that? The coup was good for nothing. Good for his own family, yes. They went from being
middle class to filthy rich. That’s all I want to say about it. Thanks, son. Can I go now?
– Of course. Have a nice day. What’s this for?
– Dutch television. No one will hurt you for speaking
negatively about Pinochet. This is just for Dutch TV. If someone wants to hurt me because
of Pinochet, I have enough help. I enjoyed that chat. I like the way South Americans can be
angry and cheerful at the same time. That’s how I imagine the days
of the left-wing revolutions: Fights and ideals, but with a smile. Sometimes I dream of having moved
to Nicaragua 30 years earlier… …during the Sandinista Revolution. Being a journalist
in a completely different era. My first job in Nicaragua was
for the newspaperLa Prensa. I didn’t really do much because
my Spanish wasn’t very good yet. Sometimes they’d publish an article
and give me a few peso for it. I spent a lot of time
in the newspaper archives… …because I think old newspapers
reflect the soul of a country. So the soul of Chile
should be stored here. When I asked the librarian at
the Biblioteca National for articles… …that would give me an insight
into the mental state of Chileans… …she took me straight to the big safe. She wanted to show me one of the most
important front pages in her history. 13 September 1973. Military junta in control of country General Pinochet fires the Parliament General Augusto Pinochet is appointed
president of the military junta… …that has been leading the fate
of the nation since last Tuesday. He is replacing Salvador Allende’s
Marxist government. Did Allende commit suicide?
– There are a lot of stories about that. Some say it was suicide,
others say he was murdered. Murdered by Pinochet?
– Yes. After his coup Pinochet sent thousands
of opponents to concentration camps… …and started building
Chile’s strong economy. He applied almost every tool on
the checklist of neo-liberal reforms. He cut subsidies, privatized industries,
and liberalized the market. The so-called ‘Chilean miracle’… …became an example for other
Latin America countries. In this apartment building
I looked for someone… …with a view of the Tower of Progress. I wanted to ask that same person how
the Chilean miracle influenced his life. He said: Come around 4, after I pick up
my grandchildren from school. I don’t know if your mother is home yet. But when we get home I want you
to do your homework straight away. All your homework. All your homework.
– OK. And no television. That won’t teach Maximo anything at all. Those cartoons are no good.
He has to learn through play. By playing with other kids.
– Yes, and with toys. He has to learn to play with his toys. What’s wrong? Oh, his rubber ball. Don’t put it in your mouth. This man walked so fast
I had trouble keeping up. That doesn’t often happen to me here. He had a tight schedule: from daycare
to school and home again. Timed so that his daughter can spend
some time with the kids between jobs. And here is Maximo. There’s your mum. He’s not feeling so well. He has a bit of a temperature. Come to mummy.
Mummy has just finished work. I was to tell you that there’s
a parent-teacher meeting tomorrow. I think Maximo is doing a dance.
– I’m just reminding you. In Chile parents hardly ever have time to
pick their kids up from school. In general, children are alone all day. The fact that my dad picks them up and
they see me at home is exceptional. Most offices are open until seven pm. Kids look for ways to fill that void. That’s the biggest problem
that parents here face. How can you solve it
when you’re never there? They often turn to psychologists
to get a prescription for pills. Maximo, take your medicine. Bit by bit. I’ll do it. Grandad has a train. He’s covering his mouth. A little.
Don’t do that. There are a lot of earth tremors
and earthquakes too. When I’m at work and think of the kids
that makes me very restless. After he was born it was all too much
for me and I became depressed. I went on medication and wanted to get
better because my kids needed me. Luckily dad can help out. We couldn’t cope without him
in our day-to-day life. I’m sure everything will be all right.
– Yes. I know things will always be all right
if you believe in God. That’s true. It made me think of my own kids. I sometimes feel guilty too when
I have to work, or worse, travel. Which makes it a decadent thought. Because my work has more to do
with ambition than pure necessity. So I chose not to share it with this
woman who was up to her neck in debt. So that her father was forced to sew
suits far beyond his age of retirement… …for the men in the business district that
their apartment looked out on. Do you think capitalism is to blame
for your daughter’s situation? Of course. It’s the vicious circle of the system. You borrow money to pay
something else off. And so it goes on. A young man has died
after jumping off the Costanera Center. He got past security and
jumped down from the 27th floor. The police say he was carrying a banner
with the slogan: for peace and love. Two suicides in one week. Wednesday something
similar happened there. At 12.50 a woman jumped
off the roof of the mall. She received CPR for 40
minutes on site, to no avail. ‘The banner and the young man’s
last words make me think… …that the Costanera Center had
a symbolic meaning to this person.’ The case has been reported to the
Public Prosecution Service in Santiago. This tower and this building
were funded by a German investor. …coincidentally, or not,
a friend of Pinochet’s… …to demonstrate how strong
the Chilean economy was. But because so many people
have jumped off it… …it has become an emotional place
for a lot of Chileans instead. I’ve seen people jump off this building. I’ve seen a boy step onto the ledge… …and people jump off the mall. I saw the boy standing
there for two hours. He threatened to jump.
– What did he say? He was crying out slogans against
capitalism and consumerism. He protested with a banner
wrapped around him. Is the mental health of the Chileans
suffering under capitalism? I think so.
– In what way? The contrast between social classes
is very big here. The poor are very poor
and the rich are rich. We have very limited access
to good healthcare and education. The poor aren’t taken care of?
– They are completely forgotten. Everything is very expensive here. And public services are bad. According to the WGO 5 percent
of Chileans suffer from depression. Only 2 percent of the healthcare budget
goes to mental healthcare. Five or six percent would be ideal. Life in Chile is not easy.
People work around the clock. They spend all their money on transport,
bills and sky-high debts. Childcare facilities don’t
match parents’ work hours. All of this contributes to depression. I heard many people
are saddled with debts. That you are born in debt
and die in debt here. Everyone walks around in a bad mood
and it’s because of debts. You can’t make anything of your life
because you’re in debt. You can’t even go on holiday. You’d have to save up for it all year. You can even borrow money
to go on holiday. A holiday debt. This slightly too close embrace
with these students… …was an idea of the man next to me. He is often hired by universities
and large companies… …to break the ice during meetings. I said I wanted to talk to the students
about their debts. He said the best way to do that
was in a circle of trust. You have no other option than
to go into debt… …because education is very expensive. We’re talking about millions of pesos,
with a very high interest rate. And then they go and raise that interest. It’s easier to borrow money
than to pay it off. Have you paid off your student loan?
– No, I still have it. I’m still in debt.
– But you can laugh about it. On the wrong side of my mouth. Breathe in deeply. One, two, three… Chileans don’t laugh a lot.
Much less than other Latin Americans. This man, Alex, is a laugh therapist. He’s at the university
to give a laughing session. Laugh! I travel to the Chilean border with
Argentina to meet a Mapuche Indian. He introduced himself on the phone
as José Maria… …to which I replied that it was a very
Catholic name for a Mapuche. But he didn’t appreciate that. He wasn’t happy with the Spanish
influence on his culture and religion. He said that he is doing everything
he can to stop globalisation. I’d like to talk about something else,
I said. I’d like to find out what the Mapuche
think of happiness. ‘That’s fine’, he replied.
And he hung up. I had my doubts about
going on this train journey. But there was something about our
awkward phone call that made me go. That’s our volcano. There’s the volcano.
– That one there? The one with snow on it. That’s it. It’s called Kapaue. It means:
Where wisdom is born. What does it teach you?
– How to be a person. In the Mapuche world
we’re not born with a personality. It has to form. How does the volcano emit wisdom?
– Through the camp fire. The camp fire is its transmitter. We get a lot of knowledge and
information through the camp fire. How does the volcano reach the fire?
– With clouds of smoke. The volcano produces smoke.
– And so does the camp fire. It’s the classic image of
an Indian sending smoke signals. That’s how it goes. Still?
– Yes, here it does. Butabelbun is an area
with very little western influence. Modern man often
excludes himself from others. He doesn’t share his feelings
and knowledge with others. He builds a wall around himself. I think modern man
shares things on Facebook. I’m not on Facebook.
I do have an email address. I don’t use email very often.
I’m not into Facebook at all. You share things with the volcano.
– Here we share things with the volcano. But also with the people around me.
My family. I thought: What wonderful mountains
and what a wonderful man. And yet I couldn’t suppress the thought… …of how jealous people would be
if they saw me on Facebook. Would you advise me
to stop using Facebook? Stop it.
– Really? Mountains always seem like
a threshold for civilization. But you could say the opposite is true. Latin American civilisation
started here in the Andes. Even before the Spanish
came and ruined everything. Chairs were assembled
for an intimate conversation. Not with a group hug,
like in modern Santiago… …but by a camp fire. It was me, José Maria,
his youngest sons… …his father, mother
and some neighbours. The camp fire said the youngsters in
the village weren’t doing so well. The volcano said he knew why. He talked about the unfulfilled desire
for a modern life. Boys as well as girls here dream… …of that other culture. Modern culture. It makes our children frustrated. Because modern life is out of reach?
– Exactly. Modern life promises them
all sorts of things. But they get stuck when those
promises turn out to be an illusion. It’s a life that’s not fit for the Mapuche. The camp fire listened attentively. Then the volcano spoke
of a curtailed mimetic desire. Only one of us knew what the volcano
meant by that. It’s like when you’re promised
that if you study your whole life… …you will become an important person
with a place in their society. But when you graduate,
there’s no work in your own community. I will never be able to be a lawyer,
engineer or doctor here. All the work is in Santiago. So our youth becomes frustrated. And they can’t shake it off. In the end, they end their life. I’ve seen it happen from close by. I lost my eldest son. He killed himself. He hanged himself in a house. He was seventeen years old. This was ten years ago. But it still hurts.
– The pain will never go away. I’ve very sorry for your loss. Since then, I decided
to talk to our youngsters. I want to prevent this from
happening to other parents. Did your son feel frustrated too?
– He thought he couldn’t do anything. Your mother is sad about it too.
– Yes, poor woman. What makes you the happiest in life? I sing the whole day.
I greet everyone from my car. I dance with them in traffic.
I do anything that comes to mind. I’m not ashamed of anything. In the park, at a healthy distance
of the Chilean miracle… …it seemed like a beautiful autumn day
in which life isn’t tough or frustrating. No smog, and no smoke of
failed dreams of progress. Because it was sunny,
a psychiatrist lent me his sofa. What makes me happy… …is giving meaning to what I do. If it doesn’t mean anything,
it isn’t worth anything. I even appreciate the towel
I dry myself with. That way I can shape my happiness. What makes me happiest is
the laughter of my two daughters. Especially when they play. Mainly in
the morning, when they always laugh. A barbecue with friends in the country. With a good Chilean wine,
hare or rump steak. Preferably on a skewer.
I like to rotate it slowly. Singing makes me very happy. I love it. My daughter makes me very happy.
She and I laugh all day long. Is she funny?
– Yes. And so are my pets.
When they’re together. You think your mother is happy?
– I think she’s very happy. She enjoys life. Do you have any debts?
– No, I don’t have any debts. You’re one of the few Chileans.
– I’ve taken good care of my finances. My debt is that I have
too little time for people. For who? Your parents or your children? My partner and my friends. Yes. Your daughter too?
– No, she gets lots of attention. Next to the Costanera Center tower
was a traffic light where a girl lived. She had a TV and a balloon
with the word Hope written on it. She told me she liked to draw. I asked her to help me make a poster… …that I wanted to hang up in
a psychiatric hospital in Santiago. She told me she’d been in all sorts
of institutions herself. But that she’s doing much better
now that she’s living on the street. All done. She didn’t want to tell me any more,
but she agreed to help with the poster. Sorry, the flute isn’t very good. I only draw when I’m down. Why aren’t you down today?
– Because… Because I woke up happy this morning. Who do you think are happier:
the rich or the poor? The poor.
– Really? The poor are happier.
– How come? Because… We form more of a community. We support each other,
even if we don’t know each other. We can still laugh together. The rich can’t. They think they’re happy. They have money and everything,
but they’re not happy. They pretend to be happy. But inside, they’re miserable. It didn’t come out very well.
– That’s because you’re happy. Thank you.
– You’re welcome. The janitor of a psychiatric hospital
gives me a tour… …with little enthusiasm
about his workplace. I showed him the girl’s drawing. He thought a mini concert
was a good idea. He said there were no
leisure facilities for patients. A few stray dogs to play with. But that the football table
dated back to the Allende era. That doctors were working overtime… …and he had to keep the building
warm with gas heaters… …as the government only spends 3%
of the budget on psychiatric patients. When no one was listening
he said that this place… …was the drain
of our healthcare system. I looked at him indignantly, but this
was precisely the reason I came here. Behind the noble camouflage
of a mini concert. Doctor?
– What is it? I’d like to invite you to a mini concert. Unfortunately I’m too busy. How are you? This is an invitation to a mini concert. At 11 a.m.
– Thank you. Will you come?
– I’m busy this morning. You have plans at 11 o’clock?
– Yes, I can’t come. Sorry. Goodbye. I hope people will come. Music rejuvenates the minds of patients. It has a positive effect
on their imagination. They have a big imagination. So it’s good for their state of mind. It’s strange to be filmed. It feels strange to be filmed?
– Yes, absolutely. Why are you in the hospital?
You look healthy. I’ve been here for many years.
– Really? I’ve tried to commit suicide. Yes. You have green eyes. Or blue, maybe. Does music make you happy? Yes, music on the radio. Music is relaxing and makes you happy.
– So does the news. The news?
– Yes. But we don’t hear much news here. Sometimes there’s bad news.
– Yes, cruel news. Music can be sad too. But not today, right? Yes, they’re playing a sad song. They’re playingGracias a La Vida. ‘The life that has given me so much’. Exciting, isn’t it?
– Yes. thanks to life that has given me so much it gave me two eyes that when I open them can perfectly see what is black and white and in sky above I see a starry depth and in the crowd the woman I love thanks to life that has given me so much Folk singer Violeta Parra
has committed suicide. A bullet silenced the voice
and the art of Violeta Parra yesterday. She shot herself in the head with a gun. At first the news was
thought to be a bad joke. But the singer is truly no longer alive. thanks to life that has given me so much it gave me sound and it gave me the alphabet and with it the words that I think and speak mother, friend, brother and the light that shines on the road that leads the soul for the ones I love thanks to life that has given me so much it gave energy to my tired feet on which I walked through cities and puddlesGracias a La Vidawas the last song
Violeta Parra wrote. She thanked life
right before she left it. It’s the most famous song
from Chile. For a long time, the Catholic Church
didn’t know what to do… …about all these people
that couldn’t handle life. So many young people. I spoke to a priest who told me
he avoided the topic for a long time. But that he can’t avoid it any longer. What happens when you’re sad?
Or restless? What happens when we have lost hope? The sadness of our heart and our soul… …makes us feel dead on the inside. Someone who doesn’t see the meaning
of life anymore becomes a zombie. The living dead. The Church sees a solution to this
in what Christ can offer us. In the name of the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Ghost. Amen. All you diseases will heal,
physically, emotionally, spiritually. I bless the soul and the body.
I wish you beautiful thoughts. And that you will always allow God’s will. Now your hands. The will of the Father and the Son
will rest on them. Now the other side.
And the Holy Ghost. Amen. Thank you. It feels a bit strange to take part in this. Hypocritical, because I have no affinity
with the Church or with rituals. But I can see how nice it can be
for people who are depressed. Just to have the feeling of belonging.
It’s pleasant. So I was in Chile recently
to find out why people weren’t happy. I looked for an explanation
in capitalism… …but found the answer
at a camp fire in the mountains. What the volcano said… …about how the promise of equality
clashes with the factual inequality… …it hit the nail on the head. This feeling that others are
constantly catching up with you. Progress seems like the new religion. And it’s at the expense
of feelings of solidarity. I’m not religious, but I recognize the
feeling of being left to our own devices. In Europe we’ve been suffering
from that for a long time. But for South Americans, it’s new. In the next episode I’ll tell you
about my trip to Tierra del Fuego. On the Beagle Channel I studied what
the fast-growing economy had done… …with man and nature. What more can you wish for? But it seemed as though
the people had adapted quite well. The sea, the mountains, a good climate. Good beer. We have it all. For more information about this series,
please visit our website.